Forest Fires in the United States: 5 May 1999

Forest Fires in the United States

5 May 1999

Several active fire signals and smoke plumes are recorded by OSEI on 4 May 1999.

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Fig.1. NOAA image of the fires extending from Ontario, Canada over the United States to Central America on 4 May 1999
(Source: NOAA

Several wildfires were reported in Northern United States over the last days.

South of the large thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast is a brown, hazy area which is smoke from fires in Mexico and Central America. The southerly flow, which is fueling the developing storms by carrying low-level moisture off the Gulf of Mexico, is also transporting smoke from the central Gulf of Mexico over the Gulf Coast states. Finally, notice the yellow cone-shaped areas north of the Great Lakes in Ontario, Canada. These are dense plumes of smoke extending to the north from areas of fire burning in this region (Fig. 1).

In Southern United States the wildfire danger remains high. Florida continues to suffer the consequences of a long running drought that has affected the entire state. Rainfall was a little in the last few days throughout the state. The dry conditions continue for the next few days associated with lower humidities, higher temperatures and increased winds. The DAILY FLORIDA WILDFIRE STATUS SYNOPSIS of Tuesday, 4 May 1999, prepared by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Forestry in conjunction with the National Forests in Florida is stating, that 23 wildfires burned 248 acres (100 ha) on Monday. The year-to-date statistic increased meanwhile to 2,963 wildfires, which burned 248,990 acres (100,762 ha). For information regarding this report please refer to the detailed synopsis, which can be accessed under

4 May 1999 can be quoted as follows:
Initial attack activity increased in the Eastern Area. Large fire activity continued in the Eastern and Southern Areas. The National Interagency Coordination Center processed orders for one Type II Incident Management Team, two Type II crews, radio equipment, a lead plane, four Type II Helicopters, one airtanker and overhead. Air transport of crews to Virginia will continue today. Very high and extreme fire indices were reported in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

ATV, Huron/Manistee NF. This fire, started by an ATV is four miles southeast of Mio, MI. No new information was reported.
TOWER LAKE, Michigan State Forestry. This fire is north of the town of Republic. Current threats include structures, and natural resources. Current control problems are rough terrain, access and very dry conditions.

SHOP RUN, Shenandoah NP. A Type I Incident Management Team (Melton) is assigned. This fire is 20 miles northwest of Charlottesville, VA. The fire jumped the south and west containment lines. Hand crews were supported by airtanker retardant drops, helicopter bucket drops and engines from volunteer fire departments.
GILCHRIST, Florida State. This arson caused fire is burning on Gilchrist Timber Company Land near the town of Bell. No further information is available.
LONG BAY, Florida NF’s. This fire is located 17 miles west of Tallahassee. This fire is being managed as part of the Apalachicola Complex.

Red flag warnings and fire weather watches are posted in Florida for low humidities. Florida will be sunny and warm. Minimum humidities will be 25-35 percent. Winds will be light and variable. High temperatures will be in the 80’s.
A fire weather watch is posted for Central and Southern New Mexico for strong winds and low humidities. New Mexico will be partly cloudy and windy. The northern mountains will receive a few showers. Winds will be west to northwest at 20-30 MPH. High temperatures will be in the 50’s to mid 60’s in the mountains, and 70’s to 80’s for the central and southern portions of the state.
A red flag warning is posted for low humidities and warm and dry conditions in northern lower and upper Michigan. Michigan will see increasing clouds. Minimum humidities will be 25-35 percent. Winds will be from the southeast at 5-10 MPH, except 10-20 MPH for upper Michigan. High temperatures will be in the 70’s to 80’s.
Minnesota and Wisconsin will be mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Winds will be south to southeast at 15-25 MPH. High temperatures will be in the mid 60’s to mid 70’s.
Virginia will be mostly cloudy in the east and mostly sunny in the west. Minimum humidities will be 25-35 percent. Winds will be mainly northeast around 10 MPH. High temperatures will range from the 60’s along the coast to 70’s inland.
New England will be mostly sunny in the north. Mostly cloudy conditions with a chance of rain showers will prevail for southern New England. Minimum relative humidities will be 20-35 percent in the north and 45-60 percent in the south. Winds will be light and variable in the north, and northeast 15-20 MPH in the south. High temperatures will range from 70-80, with 60’s in the south.

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